Monday, 21 September 2020

Culture Minister gives St Agnes statue to Pope

12 September 2016

Vatican/Prague, Sept 10 (CTK) - Czech Culture Minister Daniel Herman gave Pope Francis a statue of St Agnes of Bohemia, which would be placed in the Chapel of the Patron Saints of Europe in St. Peter's Basilica, in the Vatican yesterday, the Culture Ministry has announced.
Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, former Prague Archbishop, is with the Czech delegation in the Vatican.
The Pope was apparently pleased, Vlk said.
"I told him that St Agnes is the founder of the only Czech monastic order the mission of which was to look after the ill and poor, and this is why the statue comes to the Vatican during this Holy Year of Mercy," Vlk told Czech Radio.
The Pope welcomed 300 Czech pilgrims who took part in the general audience on St Peter's square. He also thanked Vlk as well as Czech bishops and state representatives for the gift.
"The patron saint of the Czech land, St Agnes of Bohemia, is for me a symbol of not only Czech statehood, but primarily of mercy," Herman said.
The gift is a dignified contribution of the Czech Republic for the Pope during the Holy Year of Mercy, he added.
The project was initiated by Senate deputy chairwoman Miluse Horska who also arrived in the Vatican with the delegation.
The 160cm sandstone statue weighing some 300 kilos was made by students of the secondary school of stonework and sculpture in Horice, east Bohemia, and designed by one of the students, Alena Kubcova Subertova.
St Agnes of Bohemia thus symbolically returns to the place where Pope John Paul II canonised her on November 12, 1989, a few days before the Velvet Revolution that prompted the fall of the communist regime in Czechoslovakia.
Agnes of Bohemia (1211-1282) was a princess of the House Premyslids who opted for a life of charity and piety. She established the order of the Knights of the Cross with the Red Star, the only religious order originating from Bohemia.
Vlk will celebrate a mass in the Papal Archbasilica of St. John in Lateran in the Vatican in the afternoon. Afterwards, a procession will go to St. Peter's Basilica. The event will end at the St. Wenceslas later.
At the end of his trip, Herman (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) and the Czech delegation will pay homage to Cardinal Josef Beran (1888-1969) at his grave in the Chapel of the Patron Saints of Europe.

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